Tag Archives: People


by Robert Manni

We’re at a critical juncture for redefining men and bridging the communications gap between the sexes. It’s ironic that with all of our technology, communication between men and women has never been in such a dire state. Over the past 30 years, the paths of women and men have changed dramatically. While women have been on a straight trajectory of achievement, accomplishment, and long overdue recognition, men find themselves in a tough spot. Although men have never been freer to be whomever they want, it’s also never been less clear who they are. Women are on the move and men refuse to change. There is resentment, a lack of empathy and understanding on both sides. We’re heading in different directions. Enter the Guy’s Guy.

So, What Is A Guy’s Guy?

A Guy’s Guy is a contemporary Man’s Man — a nod to the return of the casual confidence and seductive integrity of the classic male — updated to reflect a belief that everybody wins when men and women can be at their best. A Guy’s Guy welcomes the rise of women, yet competes with them for love, sex, power and money in a time when everyone plays for keeps. Guy’s Guys exude unassuming strength, timeless style and emotional intelligence. They seek healthy relationships and joyful living. Today’s Guy’s Guy has moved light-years beyond the time when men gave lip service to feminism while struggling to see women beyond the kitchen and the bedroom. Guy’s Guys consider women equal in all ways and treat them respectfully. They don’t patronize women for sex, and it’s game on in business with no glass ceilings.

Why Do Guy’s Guy Matter?

Men are in crisis and risk falling behind if they don’t evolve. How can young men learn what it means to be a man in this rapidly evolving society when they receive such conflicting signals about masculinity that leave them caught between the roid-rage messages of MMA and the tinted moisturizing of manscaping? With Hollywood’s one-dimensional preening power studs, metrosexuals, geeks, and superheroes as role models, many young men are left adrift. Middle-age men fare no better. Traditionally defined by their jobs, the ascension of women and the tough economy has changed everything. Women, more self-sufficient and on the move, will not slow down or step aside to accommodate men’s out of step ideas and constructs. Men need to re-examine their roles and be open to new possibilities where they share the wealth and the burdens. It’s not just up to the men; women need to pitch in as well. Women can help usher in positive change through empathy and understanding as men learn to redefine themselves.

So What’s Next?

This is a wake up call, not a death sentence for men. You’ll find today’s open-minded guys’ guys everywhere — learning as they navigate a challenging environment. For a guy’s guy, there’s never been a better time to be a man. When men and women can be at their best, everyone wins. Right?

Is your guy a guy’s guy?

The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love is Robert’s debut novel. Visit his website at robertmanni.com for up-to-date news, to read his blog and check out his videos. You can also become a fan on facebook.com/RobertManniAuthor, or follow Robert on twitter.com/RobertManni.

You can also find Robert on Guy’s Guy Radio on BlogTalkRadio. He is a regular contributor to online magazines GalTime.com and StraightUpLove.com. He blogs about life love and the pursuit of happiness at www.robertmanni.com. He can be heard on ABC Radio’s new lifestyle station, Men’s Life, in conjunction with Slacker.com.

Follow Robert Manni on Twitter: www.twitter.com/robertmanni

See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Facts and Rumors on Baby Boomers

By George Ostrom

Big national news lately is latest statistic about Baby Boomers. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 10,000 of them are retiring each week in the U.S. This situation has been building for 17 years, since the first Boomers began reaching age 50.

Last week’s news also reported on anticipated blessings and problems from all those retirees. Good note was some are still so young they are adopting homeless children, and many others doing volunteer work.

Naturally, this columnist has been covering Boomers all along. Have picked over past notes about stuff you need to know because none of us can avoid constantly hearing someone’s view of dealing with the Baby Boom population.

Maybe 30-plus years back, it was a shock for me to find out “official facts” regarding who the government blames for the population bulge.

Everyone knows about Baby Boomers since post World War II. We’ve had to make projections for them as they reached each stage of life, first increasing diaper and baby powder production, then expanding all available schools, creating more jobs, then millions of houses, cars, roads, offices, carrots and Cokes. The Baby Boomers out number the previous generation by 28 million.

Boomer publicity reached a crescendo on Jan. 1, 1996, when the first ones reached the age of 50 at a half second past midnight, and we were informed, “There are 76 million more right behind him,” including two ladies in California born a second or two later on that first day in 1946.

Like the average citizen, I had considered the Baby Boomers as an unusually large flock of children born in the first couple years after love-starved individuals of the 16,353,659 World War II GIs got home from service. We noted the first of those babies were born close to ports where troop ships docked.

Not wanting to be part of the problem after my military discharge, I was among the thoughtful young men who were careful in not contributing to the population explosion. We assiduously avoided young women who seemed in the slightest mood for draggin’ a guy to the church. It wasn’t easy, but somebody had to do it. I held out quite a while, and even then our first baby wasn’t born for over nine months after Iris and I got married.

How misguided we “hold-out fathers” were. The government and social scientists consider all babies born from Jan. 1, 1946, to Dec. 31, 1965, as Baby Boomers. The toughest part of my belatedly learning this fact was calling my four children together and solemnly telling them, “Kids, I’ve never mentioned this before but realize you have a right to know the truth … you are all (choke) Baby Boomers.”

One of them broke the silence, “We know we’re Boomers. What’s the big deal, Dad?”

“Well,” I explained, “I always considered Baby Boomers an unusual large flock of babies born right after the first love-starved GIs came charging off troop ships in the late Forties, and I wanted my children to know they were the results of a gentlemanly courtship, in a thoughtfully planned family relationship, based on true love … not fathered by some sex-hungry wild-eyed GI just off a troop ship.”

Iris then spoke up. “George, dear, even though it was 10 years after your Army service when we met, as I remember, you were still pretty wild-eyed.” The whole family had a big laugh at that humorous but exaggerated quip.

That’s another problem with those Baby Boomers. “Not enough understanding for their fathers.”

G. George Ostrom is a national award-winning Hungry Horse News columnist.

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Masculinity in Crisis?

Masculinity is in crisis, says  Diane Abbott. Men have ‘lost their way’, and in the wake  of a succession of shocking  sex crimes, are accused of  failing to speak out. What’s going on? Kunal Dutta canvasses male opinion

by Alex Wheatle, 50,  is an author whose novel include ‘Brixton Rock’, ‘The Dirty South’, and ‘Brenton Brown

A “masculinity crisis” is not the cause of the crimes that we have seen permeating society. Much of it is actually a certain powerlessness in which men feel they cannot influence their life and have been cut adrift from society.

Visit prisons or young people’s institutions and you’ll always see a desperate lack of opportunity and overwhelming sense among young men who feel that their needs are overlooked and what they end up doing is of no ultimate consequence.  They cannot relate to anyone in power and are living in a hopeless state. When you hear their views and make a concentrated effort to try and help them, you realise how desperate the situation is. Society likes to rubbish young men. A few will go astray and do bad things: but we have to make sure their concerns are acknowledged and corrected. It’s all very well deploring crimes publically, but I’d prefer to see politicians hearing what they have to say and then making a concerted effort to try and help them.

Matt Lacey

Matt Lacey, 26, is the comedian behind the YouTube character  ‘Gap Yah’

There seems to be deep gender anxiety and I’m not sure how helpful all this hand-wringing ultimately is. It feels like young males are currently being hounded by the revelations of 1970s celebrities and that we have the dead eyes of Jimmy Savile staring back at us and admonishing us.

I can understand why people are feeling anxious and depressed about it all – but we have to bear in mind that much of them are individuals whose actions are utterly deplorable but do not speak of men in general.

Peter Owen-Jones

Peter Owen-Jones, 55, is a former advertising executive who is now a Church of England vicar

There is a constant battle that goes on inside every man that remains taboo. To that extent Diane Abbott is right. When it opens publicly we tend to veer to the safe ground of football  and petty politics.

The terrible cases of grooming and the fallout of Savile have instilled a sense of shame in every man. We recognise the power of our own sexuality. But addressing it remains taboo and socially unacceptable.

At its core, the father-and-son relationship is absolutely critical. Currently it is still framed around pints of beer, football results and career ambitions. These are the easy comfortable points of daily life that frame our current identity. But it is a narrow vision that is positively disabling and utterly inadequate. It is time we address the vulnerabilities of the male identity and take responsibility for the motivations behind many of these crimes.

Daniel Trilling

Daniel Trilling, 31, is an assistant editor of the ‘New Statesman’ and author of ‘Bloody Nasty People’

In relation to the Rochdale and Oxford grooming cases, the real crisis is not about men in general but more about how young women were viewed by people in position of power and responsibility. There was a wider unwillingness to believe that crimes were taking place. To that extent this is not about a “crisis of masculinity” but more about how women are seen by institutions: and that is the area that desperately needs addressing first. Of course all of this is fuelled by the fact that men have historically occupied privileged positions inside our society and the way sex and gender have been spoken about are ways that have been shaped and cultivated by men. The debate we should be having is not about the evil masculinity of Jimmy Savile but about the sexist culture that prevailed among men and women that allowed him to convict the crimes he did. Both men and women need to be part of that conversation.

Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus du Sautoy, 47, is a professor  of mathematics at the University of Oxford

This is not a crisis. It’s about men’s roles in society being reshaped. And rather than looking on it fearfully we should see it as empowering. Change causes uncertainty and, of course, that can be destabilising. But it’s not a crisis.  Men are having a wider role in family life and that, in itself, is an evolution that should make us feel more enriched.

In regard to crimes, we must be careful of citing a direct cause and effect centred around masculinity. Terrible though they are, the sex crimes involving men are nothing new. It’s just that that society has shone a light on it. Paedophilia and child grooming have gone on for centuries –  but thankfully we are more aware of it now. Indeed it is because of the changing role of men in society that much of this is being brought to light with the perpetrators brought to justice. With more knowledge and awareness, things will change for the better.

David Hepworth

David Hepworth, 62, is a writer and broadcaster

Diane Abbott is right when she says that men today are caught between the world of John Mills and the world of moisturiser. When I was young no father dared attend the births of their children, which wasn’t right. Nowadays they don’t dare not be there, which isn’t right either. Lots of men I know seem to be permanently in apology mode, which I don’t remember my father’s generation being. We’re living in a culture of display, which means there’s no longer a lot of call for strong and silent. You can read a lot from people’s descriptions of themselves on Twitter. Why do they have to keep telling me they’re the loving father of some amazing kids? My dad came home from work and fell asleep in a chair but I never doubted he loved us.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg, 55, is a musician and activist

Diane Abbott is wrong. The crisis is not one of hyper masculinity but one of hyper individualism. The capitalist system has led us to believe that as individuals we can have whatever we want, and that, if we’re big and ugly enough, we can take whatever we can. At its most extreme, we are seeing that manifest itself in the ugliest of ways. Anyone that has seen the litany of unspeakable abuse recently should start thinking very hard about where we are as a society. People have confused masculinity with machismo – and that has to change. Men must resist conforming to the stereotypes of becoming wifebeaters just as women refused to be seen as domestic goddesses.

And those brutes – the groomers and the paedophiles– are people who have imposed their will as individuals. We need to think very hard about those men and what have fuelled their choices. Then we need to speak out collectively, before they grow up to become our sons or grandchildren.

Michael Bywater

Michael Bywater, 60, is an author whose books include ‘Big Babies: Or: Why Can’t We Just Grow Up?’

A mad, damaged, unloved man kills his de facto stepdaughter in a nightmare most of us can’t begin to understand. A fit of shame (on the BBC’s part) opens a legal vortex in which middle-aged women are invited to arraign elderly celebs for things they did when social norms were different.

A small subculture goes in for a homosocial and ritualised abuse of young women. These aren’t connected. They are about mad people, about changing moralities, about an odd and revolting social model which tacitly permits such things. To rope them together almost guarantees we’ll not understand any of them.

David Goodhart

David Goodhart, 56, is the director of the think-tank Demos

There has been a huge feminisation of society and a massive and positive advance in middle-class women. Much of that has left men facing questions about what it means to be a male in contemporary society. But I think men have, by and large, responded to those questions quite well. There is no evidence to suggest that crime figures have risen.

Certainly those questions have to be separated from many of those dark crimes that have come to light recently. Much of those are individual cases involving a small number of men who are mentally ill and reacting with violent predatory behaviour. In the case of the grooming cases, we know that some of that is not masculinity per se, but tied up with the strict moral codes that Muslim men have been brought up on and their perception of the liberal codes that white women live by.

The Jimmy Savile scandal points us to the historical stature of celebrities as authorities figures. It is a different age and as more of the past crimes come to light, there is a wider likiehood that they will never again be quite accepted in the way they once were.

Oliver James

Oliver James, 60, is a psychologist and author of ‘Affluenza’

Diane Abbott is talking rubbish. We cyclically hear about this supposed crisis of masculinity but there is nothing proving that beyond her own conjecture. If anything the real crisis is one of femininity. As many as 43 per cent of 15-year-old girls are anxious and depressed: a figure that is almost halved among young men.

Similarly grooming gangs have nothing to do with the picture of masculinity but is more about a specific sexuality and attitude. There are a number of wider issues that are never properly investigated. For example, findings that suggest sexual abuse is the main cause of schizophrenia – and not genetics. Also you never hear about the other side of the argument such as  the huge number of teenage girls who want to have sex with famous men. These are the more complicated and difficult issues that, while we want to gain a deeper understanding, we feel uncomfortable addressing.

Robert Elms

Robert Elms, 53, is a writer and broadcaster. He presents a show on BBC London.

I think to talk of a crisis of masculinity is nonsense. If any male MP wrote about a crisis of femininity they would be dragged over hot coals. Are there bad men? Yes of course – but so were there bad men 30 years ago.

I would suggest that the morality of most men is far improved. If anything, all of the current outcry and exposure is  a good sign. It shows we’re less tolerant of sexism and that violence is no longer acceptable. We are a more reasoned society than we have been. I have a 17-year-old son; and have noticed him and his peers are remarkably polite and good natured. They don’t have the casual racism and sexism that we would accept as youngsters. They have girls as platonic friends in a way we wouldn’t have had .

Every now and then you have this collective drive to make men more like women. We have to stop that. I slightly mourn the passing of the strong, silent type. I’m not against stiff upper lips. I think what Diane Abbott wrote was about the success of women. It’s a better time to be gay, black or just unusual – as more diverse notions of masculinity are  far more acceptable than they’ve  ever been.

Tim Lott

Tim Lott, 57, is an author and columnist

Diane Abbott’s comments are a waterfall of personal opinion and prejudice.  Where is the evidence? Crime has been dropping and much of the incidents coming to light are historical.

I do happen to think that the pornography on the internet is degrading and horrible but I don’t know what it tells us beyond the coarsening of the male mind.

The grooming gangs are as much a cultural phenomenon as they are about localised gangs committing illegal acts. But they are not  an indicator of the status of  contemporary masculinity.

See on www.independent.co.uk